[Revision] Science-Tech Highlight from The Hindu 2011 OtoZ (Part III, The End)

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Part I, Part II were released earlier. This part III, is the last part about highlights of The Hindu S&T Jan 2011 to Dec 2011.

  1. Emu
  2. Plastic bottle
  3. China space program
  4. 3D glasses
  5. Malaria drug resistance
  6. India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C18)
  7. Empty mug
  8. Heat of Earth’s crust
  9. RTIS
  10. Food heating
  11. Gecko robot
  12. Sky color
  13. Snake movement
  14. ISRO
  15. Twinkling stars
  16. Vit.D
  17. Swollen face
  18. Food ripening
  19. Tubelight vs CFL
  20. Lab meat
  21. Wet wood
  22. International Hydrographic Organisation (IHO)

Emu

  • A flightless bird, is also the largest bird in Australia and the second largest in the world after its distant cousin, the ostrich.
  • Emu oil estimated to be highly medicinal is gaining its popularity in the pharmaceutical industry and is priced around Rs 4,500 per litre. It has zero percent cholesterol. It is being farmed in different countries and also in India.  Emu farming, or ‘golden farming’ as it is popularly known in Orissa.

Plastic bottle

  • In the case of the plastic bottle, when hot water is poured, the molecules of the polymer get sufficient energy to overcome the barriers between the existing structure and more relaxed structure and hence the material of the bottle relaxes to the new more compact structure. Hence
  • They are seen to contract as a response to application of heat as by pouring hot water on or into them.

China space program

  • Chinese astronauts remained in space so far was 115.5 hours, or nearly five days, during the mission of Shenzhou VI in 2005.
  • China will build a space station in 10 years and will probably carry out manned explorations of deep space in the future

3D glasses

  • Why do we use only red, blue and green colours in 3D glasses?
  • It is possible to produce any colour just by mixing/ controlling the relative intensities of these three colors. Hence these three colours are called primary colours
  • 3D glasses make use any two of these primary colors ( blue, green and red) one for each eye as the intensity of the third colour can be inferred from difference between total light and the sum of intensities of these two colours to get the complete information on colour of the object or image to be seen through the 3D glass.

Malaria drug resistance

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  • Artemisin and its derivatives have saved countless lives after the single-celled parasite, Plasmodium falciparum , that causes the most dangerous forms of the disease became resistant to the drug chloroquine.
  • However, strains that are resistant to even artemisinin have emerged in parts of South-East Asia and could potentially spread, as has happened with earlier antimalarial drugs.
  • India’s Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) initiated action earlier this year to stop the production and export of these drugs.
  • Exposure of malaria parasites to suboptimal doses of artemisinin is a primary cause of the spread of resistance
  • Although oral artemisinin-based monotherapies could be effective when taken for the full seven-day course, patients often stopped taking them after just a few days when the symptoms generally subsided. Parasites that were sensitive to the drug could get eliminated, allowing drug-resistant strains to proliferate and get transmitted to other people
  • To prevent that from happening, the global health agency recommends that artemisinin be given in combination with another drug. Such artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) should, it says, be first-line treatment for uncomplicated malaria caused by P. Falciparum
  • Oral artemisinin monotherapy is banned in India,” according to the ‘Guidelines for Diagnosis and Treatment of Malaria in India’ published in 2010 by the National Institute of Malaria Research in Delhi and the Union Health Ministry’s National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme.
  • This year, DCGI wrote to all State Drugs Controllers requesting them to cancel licenses to manufacture oral artemisinin-based monotherapies with immediate effect. The manufacturing of such monotherapies for export should also be stopped.

India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C18)

  • It put four satellites in orbit, The satellites were: Megha-Tropiques, an Indo-French mission to study the weather and climate in the tropical regions of the world; srmsat, built by students of SRM University, near Chennai; Jugnu, put together by Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur students; and vesselsat from Luxembourg.
  • Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Thiruvananthapuram

Empty mug

  • Not only is it hard to pull out any empty mug completely immersed upside down in water but also it is harder to push an empty mug upside down into water.The latter difficulty is mainly due to the buoyancy, the air sac, captured inside the mug
  • However, when we try to pull out the same empty mug or the mug already drowned, in an upside manner, we experience certain difficulty of pulling it out. This difficulty stems from a different cause and owes to the surface tension phenomenon of liquids
  • Amount of force required to open apart one unit length of the liquid’s surface is defined as the surface tension of the liquid. Its value is unique to the liquid and is highly sensitive to the temperature, pressure and purity of the liquid.
  • Fathers of radiation genetics, Hermann Muller, was awarded the 1946 Nobel Prize in medicine for his discovery that X-rays induce genetic mutations.
  • This helped him call attention to his long-time concern over the dangers of atomic testing.
  • Environmental toxicologist Edward Calabrese, whose career research shows that low doses of some chemicals and radiation are benign or even helpful, says he has uncovered evidence that Muller knowingly lied when he claimed in 1946 that there is no safe level of radiation exposure

Heat of Earth’s crust

  • Radioactive decay of uranium, thorium, and potassium in Earth’s crust and mantle is a principal source of earth’s heat — some 44 trillion watts — that continually flows from Earth’s interior into space

RTIS

  • Real-time train information system (RTIS) for a dozen important trains through which passengers can access the accurate train running information.
  • The facility will not only be available to passengers on these trains but also to the public who are accessing the website www.simran.in, and through SMS from railway enquiry number 139. Passengers will be provided with the information about the location of the train, its running position — on time or late, next stop, nearest approaching/crossed station and the speed.
  • The Railways intends to provide this facility in all passenger and freight trains by December 2012.

Food heating

  • Eating reheated cooked food and taking left over/preserved food are not good for health?
  • The raw materials such as rice, pulses, fats etc are in such chemical architecture that we cannot assimilate. That is why, by cooking process, they are chemically converted into smaller molecules that can further be managed by our digestive system, from mouth to intestines, through a series of enzymatic processes (mostly hydrolysis).
  • If the cooked food is left out for a while, a host of microorganisms invade the food stuff and work on the molecules in their own physiological ways because the cooked food stuff is now in a bio-manageable molecular status.
  • These microorganisms leave their own chemical signature on the food stuffs over time. If such a type of food is reheated, not only are the useful remains are warmed or further hydrolyzed but the microorganisms themselves and the chemicals they have excreted are also heated and chemically processed.
  • These alien chemical and biological entities are likely to generate poisonous molecules upon reheating. Similarly, food stuffs, left for long, are also likely to be contaminated by the invisible microorganisms along with their excreta during their regime on this food. Thus, a leftover/preserved food is also a source of possible poisonous content.
  • It is not true that all the processed foods undergo infections by pathogenic organisms. It all depends on what type of natural preservatives are added, like tamarind, salt, oil, sugar etc
  • All foods which are used in our set up, might have been refrigerated, and hence the bacterial growth is inhibited.
  • We should heat the canned foods above 60-70 degree C, so that the toxins are destroyed.

Gecko robot

  • The adhesive pads on geckos follow this same principle by utilising a large number of fibres, each with a very small tip. The more fibres a gecko has in contact, the greater attachment force it has on a surface
  • Wall-climbing robots could be used to clean windows, inspect buildings, crawl up pipes and help in search-and-rescue operations
  • Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC) played a key role in the shift in the global climate that began about 38 million years ago. Early ACC was vital to the formation of modern ocean structure.

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Sky color

  • When the sun’s rays enter the atmosphere they collide with particles and gases in the atmosphere.
  • Shorter wavelengths, like blue and violet, scatter a lot more than long ones when particles are relatively small. Under these conditions, scattered light also tends to disperse equally in all directions, which is why the sky appears so saturated with blue color.
  • Sky’s color can change based on dust, pollution and water vapor, which affect the absorption and scattering of sunlight differently.
  • Reddish tinge of sunsets is due mostly to the fact that the sunlight travels through more atmosphere to reach our eyes.

Snake movement

  • Unlike mammals which primarily use their legs, snakes and reptiles tend to use their bodies and spine as a major part of locomotion
  • Snake alternately tightens and relaxes a set of muscles along each side of its body to produce horizontal waves that travel down the body

ISRO

  • ISRO) is drawing up plans to develop the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota into a centre for assembling satellites and rockets in the near future.
  • Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) in Hyderabad
  • ISRO and INCOIS were working together in the area of environment and climate monitoring

Twinkling stars

  • Why do stars twinkle? Why does light from planets not twinkle?
  • Little pockets of air that have different density, temperature, humidity etc. Than the surrounding air. The density contrast causes refraction, and as different cells move in and out of your line of sight,
  • This movement is seen as twinkling by the eyes; if you take a photograph over several minutes, as astronomers often do, then the image becomes blurred.
  • Why don’t planets twinkle? This is because, even though they may look point-like to naked eyes, they are actually much bigger than the typical seeing. This means that you observe the combination of light which has passed through different atmospheric cells. Thus, the turbulent effects are averaged out, making the planets look steady.

Vit.D

  • How does exposure to sun help to produce Vitamin-D in humans?
  • Vitamin D, a fat soluble vitamin
  • Ergocalciferol is designated as vitamin D {-2} and cholecalciferol also as vitamin D {-3}.
  • Humans make 90 per cent of their vitamin D naturally from sunlight exposure to their skin – specifically, from ultraviolet B exposure to the skin, which naturally initiates the conversion of cholesterol in the skin to vitamin D { -3}.
  • In contrast, sun exposure to the skin makes thousands of units of vitamin D naturally in a relatively short period of time. Therefore Vitamin D is regarded as Sun Shine Vitamin.

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Swollen face

  • When we wake up after a sound sleep our face (lips, eyelids) are swollen. Why?
  • During sleep , all these movements are absent, no facial movements , no lip movement, no blinking etc, hence the so called “muscle pumps” are totally absent. If the sleep time is prolonged beyond certain limit, the venous engorgement due to slow respiration with slow suction, and lack of muscle pumps swell the interstitial space and cells, underneath the skin, resulting in accumulation of fluids, which create a swollen eyes and lips.

Food ripening

  • A simple technology practiced in households to trigger ripening is to keep un-ripened and ripened fruits together inside an air tight container. Since the already ripened fruits release ethylene, ripening will be faster. Another method is to place the fruits intended for ripening inside an air tight room and induce ripening through smoking inside smoke chambers. Smoking chamber Smoke emanates acetylene gas. Several fruit traders follow this technique to achieve uniform ripening especially in banana and mango
  • Some farmers dip unripe mature fruits in 0.1 per cent ethrel solution (1 ml of ethrel solution in 1 litre of water) and wipe it dry.
  • Fruits ripened using calcium carbide are carcinogenic and should not be consumed.
  • Traders use calcium carbide that emits acetylene gas
  • Chikungunya is primarily spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito

Tubelight vs CFL

  • Why does a tube light not glow immediately on switching on like a CFL bulb?
  • Both the tube lights and the cfls work by the same principle. These lamps consist of a fluorescent phosphor coated glass tube filled with a mixture of the inert gas argon and mercury vapour.
  • Gas is excited by the energetic electrons emitted from the cathodes provided at the ends of the tube.
  • These excited gas atoms interact with the phosphor material coated on the walls and we receive the light from this glowing phosphor material.
  • Initiation of the gas excitation is accomplished by extracting electrons from a heated cathode, by using an instantaneous high voltage pulse generated by a ballast circuit
  • These features of the ballast circuit often require more than one attempt for the gaseous excitation. This leads to slower start and start-up flickering of the tube lights.

Lab meat

  • Churchill’s chicken-based comment, was in the 1930s: 50 years hence, we shall escape the absurdity of growing a whole chicken in order to eat the breast or wing, by growing these parts separately under a suitable medium.? Well, Churchill’s prediction might come true in a few years hence.  Researchers are applying the technique of cell and tissue engineering to grow edible meat in the laboratory, or in vitro.
  • Why would anyone want to grow meat in the lab? Because we need to grow crops to feed livestock, which alone takes up 26 per cent of the available area and equally substantial water. And livestock contributes 18 per cent to global warming. Plus, to paraphrase what Churchill said, animals are not efficient protein factories; much of what we eat as meat is proteins (muscle).  Why then not grow meat in the lab and save space, water and reduce global warming?

Wet wood

  • More smoke is produced when wet wood burns. Why?
  • There are four stages (sequences) of fire: incipient, smouldering, flame and heat.  Initially, the wood is to be ignited (lit) by an external heat source, say, a match.  When the wood reaches a temperature of about 150 degrees C, the cellulosic material starts decomposing ( thermal decomposition and degradation). There is no visible smoke, flame or significant development of heat.  However, a large number of combustible particles are produced.  This constitutes the incipient stage.  As this stage continues, the combustible particles increase until they become visible — a condition called smoke. Smoke is made up of compounds of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen.  But, no flame or significant heat develops at this stage also.
  • This is the smouldering stage. As the fire condition develops further, ignition occurs and flame starts at about 500 degrees C. The level of visible smoke decreases and the heat level increases. This is the flame stage. Finally, large amounts of heat, flame, smoke and toxic gases are produced.  This constitutes the heat stage
  • Wood is a hygroscopic material.  That is, it tends to absorb moisture from the air.  Normally, it contains about eight per cent of water.
  • In the case of wet wood, a very high proportion of heat is taken away as the latent heat of evaporation.  Therefore, there will be a hindrance for reaching even the third stage, let alone the fourth one. However, the second (smouldering) stage continues without any hindrance.  Accordingly, more smoke is produced when wet wood burns.

International Hydrographic Organisation (IHO)

  • Hydrography impinges on every activity at the sea, the most important being provision of nautical charts and publications for worldwide navigational safety with 24 X 7 updating service under the IMO /IHO/UN Conventions.
  • Hydrography is the branch of applied sciences which deals with the measurement and description of the physical features of oceans, seas, coastal areas, lakes and rivers.  It also seeks to provide prediction of their change over time, for the primary purpose of safety of navigation and in support of all other marine activities

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6 Comments on “[Revision] Science-Tech Highlight from The Hindu 2011 OtoZ (Part III, The End)”

  1. Thank you very much Mrunal, FRIENDS – ALL THE BEST FOR TOMORROW EXAM.

  2. Your article on Europe crisis is missing i am not able to find it on the website,please post it again

  3. kindly publish 4 2012 13 also

  4. Sir Is it necessary to go through the S&T 2011 part provided by you or just 2012-13 part will be fine for CSAT-2013.

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